Malaysia's external trade surpassed the RM2 trillion mark for the first time in 2021, a 24.9% increase year-on-year (y-o-y) versus a 3.3% decrease in 2020, said the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM).
Chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said exports rose 26.1% to RM1.2 trillion, due to significant performances of both domestic exports and re-exports.
"Domestic exports hit the one trillion mark for the first time, increasing 26.6% y-o-y, while re-exports went up 24% to RM229 billion," he said in a statement on Thursday (July 28).
Mohd Uzir noted that imports in 2021 also recorded a growth of 23.3% to hit the highest value of RM987.3 billion.
"Meanwhile, the trade balance remained in surplus for the 24th consecutive year since 1998 amounting to RM253.7 billion, an increase of 38.4%," he added.
The rise in exports was mainly due to higher exports to China, which grew 20.9%, or RM33.3 billion, following robust liquefied natural gas exports and metal and electrical and electronics (E&E) products.
This was followed by the US (RM33.2 billion), Singapore (RM31.8 billion), the European Union (RM19.4 billion), Vietnam (RM14.7 billion), Japan (RM13.3 billion) and Australia (RM10.1 billion), as a result of growing exports of E&E products.
Meanwhile, exports to India grew by 48.7%, or RM14.8 billion, underpinned by robust palm oil exports and palm oil-based agricultural products, the statement said.
As for the rise in imports, this was driven by higher imports from China, with an increased value of RM56.8 billion, driven by higher imports of E&E, as well as chemical and chemical products.
This was followed by Singapore (RM20 billion, petroleum products), Indonesia (RM19.4 billion, coal), the European Union (RM17.7 billion), Taiwan (RM17.2 billion) and Japan (RM12. 4 billion), supported by growth in exports of E&E goods.
Imports from Thailand rose 32.3%, or RM11.1 billion, contributed by an increase in imports of transport equipment, the statement said.
The surge in export growth was led by E&E products (RM69.7 billion), petroleum products (RM34.3 billion), manufacture of metal (RM24.7 billion), palm oil and palm oil-based agricultural products (RM23.5 billion), and rubber products (RM20.3 billion).
This was followed by chemicals and chemical products (RM19.9 billion), palm oil-based manufactured products (RM11.7 billion), and machinery, equipment and parts (RM10.5 billion).
Meanwhile, a significant increase in imports was recorded for E&E products (RM61.5 billion), petroleum products (RM29.5 billion), chemicals and chemical products (RM22.3 billion), iron and steel products (RM8.8 billion), and machinery, equipment and parts (RM8.5 billion).
This was followed by imports of gold, non-money (RM8.1 billion), manufacture of metal (RM7.2 billion), coal (RM7 billion) and rubber products (RM6.9 billion).
Source: The Edge Markets